Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Mike Lillis notes at the Washington Independent that Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) is not only being hypocritical about the possibility of filibustering Obama’s judicial nominees, he’s also being hypocritical about the amount of time necessary to get them confirmed. When Bush was in office, he was all about getting his nominees confirmed quickly and poo pooing the notion that such confirmations take any real length of time:

One might wonder why we would need more than just a couple of days of debate (the average of recent nominees is two to three days), especially since nothing new has been said for weeks. But, if the public has noticed anything during this process it is that senators value their right of unlimited debate.


Now that Obama is in office, he’s all about making sure the process is “thorough” and that the minority be given lots of time to properly examine the nominee:

“To that end, when John Roberts was first nominated on July 19,, 2005, and subsequently re-nominated to be Chief Justice on September 6, 2005, Senate Republicans afforded the minority ample time to adequately examine his background and qualifications before he received a confirmation vote 73 days later.

“When Samuel Alito was first nominated on October 31, 2005, the minority was afforded 93 days before he received a confirmation vote on January 31, 2006.

“I would expect that Senate Democrats will afford the minority the same courtesy as we move forward with this process.”

Punchline: As Robert Novak revealed in an op-ed piece in the middle of the Alito confirmation process, those hearings were actually delayed by the Republicans in order to help key senators involved in tough election battles — including Kyl — spend more time in their districts.

The January scheduling of Judge Samuel Alito’s confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court, instead of December as desired by President Bush, was caused in part by political needs of Republican senators facing opposition for re-election.

Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona and Mike DeWine of Ohio are supporters of Alito. But each wanted to get home in December to prepare for strong Democratic challenges.

And this again is a situation where both parties play the same game. When a Democrat is in the White House, the Democrats are all about getting those nominations pushed through as quickly as possible; when a Republican is in the White House, it’s all about delaying the votes to allow a more thorough vetting process. And vice versa for the Republicans. Pure political gamesmanship masquerading as principle.